Karen Kamensek, Conductor

Karen Kamensek, born in Chicago, is equally at home on the opera and concert stages. Her broad range of interests and her varied work extend from classical to modern, including many world premieres, film music and crossover projects (jazz and world music). 

A specialist in contemporary music, she regularly works with the American composer Philip Glass, whose Orphée she conducted in New York and Germany, as well as Glass's world premiere of Les Enfants Terribles at the Spoleto Festival USA. Most recently she conducted Glass’ Satyagraha and the successful new production of Glass' Akhnaten at the ENO, as well as Glass' Passages with Anoushka Shankar at the BBC Proms and at the Philharmonie de Paris. In the 2019/20 season she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera with Glass’ Akhnaten and will return in Spring 2022. Further engagements in 2021/22 are Dead Man Walking at Den Norske Opera Oslo, Die Zauberflöte at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the world premiere of Philip Glass' Ballett Alice at Opera National du Rhin and Così fan tutte at Arizona Opera. She will give concerts with the Orchestre Chambre de Paris and Charlotte Symphony, among others. 

As a sought-after opera conductor, Karen Kamensek is a guest at major opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Gothenburg Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, Bergen Opera, ENO, Israeli Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Australia (Melbourne), Royal Danish Opera, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Vienna Volksoper. Special highlights here included Britten's Death in Venice, Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Floyd's Susannah, Lehár's Merry Widow, Leoncavallos I Pagliacci, Mascagnis Cavalleria rusticana, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Puccini's Tosca, Verdi's Otello and Wagner's Lohengrin.

She is also regulary on the concert podium  and conducted a.o. the Oslo Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Tonkünstler Niederösterreich, Dortmund Philharmonic, Orchestre National Bordeaux, Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre National de Lille, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Duisburger Philharmoniker, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Monterey Symphony, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre Chambre de Paris, MDR Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Braunschweig Philharmonic State Orchestra, Halle Philharmonic State Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra Ljubljana, Malmö Symphony, Helsingborg Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Hungarian National Philharmonic. 

Kamensek was First Kapellmeister at the Vienna Volksoper from 2000 to 2022, and Generalmusikdirector at the Theater Freiburg from 2003 to 2006, after which she took on the position of interim Chief Conductor of the Slovenian National Theater in Maribor in the 2007/08 season. Beginning in 2008 Kamensek served as deputy-Generalmusikdirector at the Hamburg State Opera before becoming Generalmusikdirektor an Chief Conductor of the Hanover State Opera in 2011. She led the opera in Hanover until 2016, and during her tenure she conducted numerous new productions including Shostakovich’s Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk District, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Puccini’s Il trittico, Detlev Glanert’s Caligula, and Janacek’s Jenufa. 


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Upcoming Performances


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